Germany

February 2019

Q&A with Benjamin Becker, Head of blu:prevent

Benjamin BeckerHead of blu:prevent

1. Why is the work of the Blue Cross important to you?

The mixture of volunteers and full-time employees in all age groups, paired with our multi-faceted topics and target groups makes the Blue Cross in Germany really exciting. It ist truly impressive to see how many people contribute with heart and passion to accompany others out of addiction.

2. Are you convinced of the impact of your work – if so, which aspects?

The many self-help groups in Germany, for example, take on responsibilities that the German inpatient / professional health care system could not otherwise afford. The holistic and sustainable support of addicted people over the long term is a unique service; and for many people, it is crucial to their well-being. In the area of prevention, we have gained deep experience.  In 2018 our content reached 1.2 million people via social media. This should be topped in 2019! The new chat on our app is innovative; it is a consulting model for the future.

3. What was your happiest moment during your time with Blue Cross?

Two moments come to mind immediately. What makes me really happy, is to see how our volunteer self-help workers (many of whom are at an advanced age) are building their own regional projects using the digital modules. I am also happy and proud to have received an award from the Drug Commissioner of the German Federal Government in 2018.

4. What is/was your biggest challenge in your work for Blue Cross?

The biggest challenge for me is the age-demographic in the Blue Cross. The majority of self-help members are getting older and have difficulty embracing the digital technologies required to reach target audiences in 2019. If we coud overcome that barrier, we would be able to develop the potential and the power of the Blue Cross in Germany. We really need to keep developing new technology skills in order to be fit for the future.

5. Blue Cross in your country: What do you consider your most important project?

Three projects are tremendously exciting in the Blue Cross in Germany. One is called "Addiction self-help goes new ways" which is renewing the range of self-help suppport services, driven by innovative ideas. The "blu: prevent" addiction prevention project targeted at young people is notable for the strong response it has generated. It has its own website, online modules and app.  The third project is our social media activities.